The truth behind buried submarine legend
A First World War submarine believed to be buried below a Westcountry park is not a myth, according to local museum bosses.
Dartmouth Museum claims to have photographic evidence which can prove that a British U-boat is buried beneath the town's Coronation Park.
Trustee chairman David Lingard said: "It's not legend at all. We have photographs. It's one of those things that turn up as legend because it is a nice story, but in this case it turns out to be true."
A volunteer researcher at the museum recently found that the submarine, buried near the higher ferry slipway, is in fact British, contrary to rumours that it belonged to the Germans. The issue of the Great War relic was raised when South West Water announced plans in August last year to replace a sewer system beneath the park, responsible for flooding homes in Coombe Road.
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The alternative to tunnelling would have been digging up the nearby tennis courts which underwent a £90,000 renovation less than a year ago. The tunnelling work was not expected to be near the buried submarine, but recently discovered photographs show that the vessel could be closer to the workmen than initially thought.
Furthermore, Mr Lingard is convinced that newspaper cuttings from the time prove a torpedo boat is also buried beneath the park, which was known as Coombe Mud before the embankment was built between 1928 and 1929 by unemployed Welsh miners.
A myth yet to be proved, however, is the one surrounding the supposed burial beneath the park of tonnes of American military hardware. US forces, who used Dartmouth as a set-off point for D-Day in 1944, were rumoured to have buried their equipment beneath Coronation Park because it was not cost-effective to ship it back across the Atlantic.
"We don't have any proof of that, so I think it may well be in the realm of legends," Mr Lingard added.